tv Dateline NBC NBC July 29, 2011 9:00pm-11:00pm EDT
small southern church. >> a lot of people called us ken and barbie. >> high school sweet hearts. the football player and the homecoming queen. player witness four little girls. he became a deacon and they both starred in church plays among the faithful, she caught a certain someone's eye. >> he was saying, you are a beautiful girl. >> yes, sir. >> a religious retreat, a stolen moment. fieles, un retiro >> i get the picture of you easing your way out of the room after lights out. tiptoeing down the hall. is that the way it happened? >> yes. >> then an unholy act. the deacon lay dead. >> lots of stab wounds. >> some said secret lovers had
hatched a secret plot. >> she was referred to as a puppet master. >> was she a devastated widow -- >> i fell on the floor crying. >> or was she in on it? her lover said one thing. >> i see no guilt on her part. >> the fact that she had a brand new funeral ready outfit said something else. >> every woman needs a black dress. >> the secret life of the homecoming queen. captions paid for by nbc-universal television church can be a bedrock of strength for a community and a family but it was also the source of temptation. soon everyone would know who broke one covenant. who broke the second? thou shall not kill. here's dennis murphy.
>> he was number 15, a boy named thad. fate maybe because number 15 was her lucky number. the girl from the cross town rival watching the game up in the stands. the pretty blond named michelle who would become 1986 homecoming queen at pepperell high. >> it was honor because the whole school votes for the queen. so it was an honor. >> you were the reel really cool girl in school. >> i guess. >> number 15 thad reynolds and michelle sullins were prom dates. married right out of high school. >> they were both popular. both nice-looking, both friendly hark lot of friends, social. i mean, they had it all.
>> but 20 years on, people had strong opinions about the one-time homecoming queen. >> she is one of the most evil people that i've ever dealt with. >> that's because of what happened early one morning. >> lots of stab wounds. it was a bad crime scene. >> with their church at the center of their lives, supportive families living right next door. how had it come to what it did? >> a gruesome murder. it was very eye-owing for our community. very big news. >> so much lost in the blink of an eye. so much blood. >> i'm looking at myself every minute before i go in. it was hard to believe it got to where it was. >> a sense of place is important
to this story, and here it is. rome, georgia. a county seat northwest of atlanta, population about 35,000. not too big, not too small. proud to be in the bible belt and all that implies about how you live your life and treat your neighbors. a great many of whom you'll know by name. growing up in this conservative city in the '70s was a sparkly little girl named michelle. she always seemed to end up front and center in the family snap shots kept by her aunt trish. >> she was always wanting to pose for my camera. she would sit at my mom's and dad's in the swing. i would take her picture. grab the little poodle, the doggie and take another picture. >> what the old photos of a happy kid don't reveal were the fault lines in michelle's childhood. her parents split up when she was a little girl. her father died when she was only 13. her single mom raised michelle and her two older brothers with
the teachings of the baptist church as a moral foundation. michelle grew older and stayed cute, a kind of little miss sunshine who always thrived in the attention her golden looks brought. >> i mean, she was just a beauty. absolutely. walk into a room and everybody look. she had that presence. >> there were teenage boyfriend buzz no one special until she went to that football game. the one with number 15 on the field. >> i seen who number 15 was and it was thad. i saw him at a dance and i just fell head over heels for him. >> thad reynolds, football player, wrestler later on in the school year, and an athlete, not afraid to be in the school play and skits. seen her dancing in his number 15 jersey. he started seeing michelle, someone as full of life as he was. thad's sister beverly remembers it as a match made in high school heaven. >> he was the football player,
she was the cheerleader and i guess that's how it started. >> the pair reminded their friends of another couple. >> a lot of people called us ken and barbie. he was just fun to be around. >> fun for thad was down home and heehaw. >> our first day, it was a tractor pull in atlanta with his family. >> a tractor pull with his family. has the good start. >> right. when we got back to the house, i threw up because i was so nervous. >> she remembers having a good time and two months later, he asked her to wear his class ring. the challenge we are the school teacher and six regular astronauts on board was consume by a giant fire ball explosion -- >> no sooner had she slipped on it than ten minutes later, they both remember the space shuttle exploding. the date? january 28th, 1986. but they didn't see the disaster as a personal omen. they finished high school as a couple.
>> we went to the prom together. >> thad john, quinn reynolds. in have the football player and homecome queen got married. they picked august 15, 15 their lucky number. they had a big church wedding at hollywood baptist. the church that would be so important in their lives in the years ahead. ken and barbie were now mr. and mrs. >> this was it. this was her family. she was going to finally have what she wanted. >> how was it to be a young married woman? >> it was awesome. i enjoyed it. having our own place was nice. >> reliable thad was unlike the father that had left the family. her aunt trish wasn't surprise that had michelle married young. >> security because when i saw them together, i saw that. i saw that security. i know she loved him. i also know that she could lean on him and depend on him.
>> thad, like michelle, had been raised religious. the baptist church was a cornerstone for the young couple. thad was a come in even when he was sick kind of hard worker at grocery. >> we had goals. we wanted to buy a house, we wanted to go on a cruise and buy a camcorder and we did all three. then we decided to try and start having children. >> they had a little girl and named her olivia but the young marriage was foundering. five years in, michelle and thad divorced. >> one had cheated. the other had cheated. you have both stories. >> we had problems. >> michelle got an office job and started dagting a little. thad kept plugging along. sort of. but he especially took the divorce hard. his mom remembers getting a bad phone call from thad. >> he was in an apartment that he had rented and i can remember him saying that he curled up in the fetal position in the closet.
and asked for god and asked for reconciliation. >> michelle, too, wasn't finding. satisfying as the single mom and the dating scene. >> i dated a few times but i knew back in my mind, that i still loved thad. and i kept our weddings rings in our safe. we still did things together. we had christmas together and some holidays. and i even went to florida with his family. so it was almost like we really wasn't divorced. >> after four years apart, thad and michelle went into counseling and at the end of that, they decided to try it again. they would get remarried. so one sunday at hollywood baptist work some of the same friends from the first wedding looking on, thad and michelle exchanged murder vows for a second time. >> it was a beautiful ceremony. it involved olivia. it was the three -- it wasn't just the two of them. it was a family.
>> the local paper splashed a heartwarming story about the young couple who had overcome adversity and been reunion wide all their church member looking on. the article concluded, theirs isn't a fairytale. it is a love story. aunt trish thought michelle looked at it through less rose colored glasses. >> i thought it was more, i'll have a home for my child and for future children. and he'll provide, which he did. a great provider. >> later on work everything that happened, some church members would rue the day they ever encouraged thad and michelle to get back together. coming up -- among the flock, wandering eyes and suspicious wives. >> she told me she was jealous of me. and that she was prettier than me. >> when the secret life of the hoeming homecoming queen continues. [ vet ] your turn max. [ cat ] inside and and i'm not the only one who thinks so...right doc? [ fema vets agree, a healthy check
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thad and michelle, after four years apart, began marriage, take two. they built a little house for themselves on the plot right next door to his parents. thad and fellow church members pitched in on the construction. by then, his mom, kitty walker knew that michelle would always be her boy's one and only.
>> he just fell head over heels. it was total commitment. >> commitment to a growing family. he and michelle would have three more girls. commitment to his job, working his way up the ranks at frito lay. and commitment most of all to the god he worshipped every sunday at hollywood baptist church. >> they say god, family. i think god was first with him. then his family. >> god working in my life, watching god work in their lives. >> thad was perfectly comfortable rising in front of the congregation at hollywood and speaking with the conviction of a polished preacher. >> on8:36, god has done a miracle in my life. god says pursue righteousness, pursue faith, pursue love with others who call on the lord. >> i really truly deep down think he wanted to be a missionary. >> thad and michelle decided to homeschool their four little girls to shield them from the secular worldly influences of public classrooms. >> when we were getting back
together, he had asked if i would pray about it. about homeschooling our children. >> i think you are saying you were living quite an active religious life. >> yes, sir. >> the church became their focal point. thad was elevated to deacon at hollywood baptist. a volunteer position as one of the pastor's right hand man. michelle became active putting on dance performances. >> a lot of the baptist churches i've been to, they're quiet and don't clap or anything. to where there is more freedom to worship at hollywood. >> the teen group she helped organize was foot stompingly professional. ♪ to further cement their commitment to god, they both star in an elaborate church play. >> now if you invite jesus into your heart, we're a complete christian family. >> thad and michelle are
featured in a scene about a christian couple. the wife traditional, the husband understanding of her lapses. >> i was so busy this morning, i forgot to put the roast in the oven. you know how crazy it gets arnd our house on sunday. >> that's okay, sweetheart. i understand. we'll go out for lunch. sfwh thad's sister about about owens looks back, those days of church and family were good time for her brother. >> if i had to pick a time that he was happiest, it was when he had all four kids and michelle at home. >> and the church provided like-minded god-fearing friends. one of those couples was scotty and page harper. almost a mirror image of thad and michelle in so many ways. scotty on thad. >> he was a good guy. >> like thad and michelle, they lived next door to his parents. like thad, scotty was deeply religious and also a church volunteer leader. he was the volunteer family pastor, giving his time to tend
to the young people of hollywood baptist. and scotty and page had their own three small children. also all girls. >> our children were like best friends. we would go out to eat with them. go to a movie. >> barbecues, volleyball, camping trips, prayer groups. thad and michelle, scotty and page and all the kids together. the husbands who had first met when thad was divorced became especially fast friends. the bible and scriptures, their glue. thad thought so highly of scotty, he praised him in front of the congregation. >> our family pastor, official title scotty harper has taught the people under him and the kids that we need to teach them the things are relevant to them these days. that's his key word, right? relevant. how to minister to them right now with their lives. >> he was a good role model. >> thad and scotty became the tightest of friends, helping each other hold firm to their
faith. >> sunday mornings before church, that him and scotty and several other guys at hollywood met at mcdonald's and had a little worship there before they went on to church. >> the two moms, though, michelle and page never grew as close. >> scotty told me later on that she was jealous of me and asking him if he thought she was prettier than me. and she was just jealous of me. so she just started getting away from me. >> but michelle was getting closer to scotty. her church performances for the middle schoolers came under his direction as the family pastor. they talked church business on the phone and exchanged e-mails. scotty had actually gone to the same high school as michelle two years behind her when she had been elected homecoming queen. >> i knew who she was. if i saw her, i might say, hey, but we really didn't cross many paths in high school. >> after a tour in the air force, including duty and desert storm with a combat
communications unit, scotty parlayed his electronic savvy into a good job at the county's major medical complex. floyd medical center. he help keep the computer systems going. >> everything was good. you know, as far as vocationally, a good job. >> but there was some turbulence on the home front with page. >> he prayed for his marriage with thad who was part of his duties as deacon regularly counseled church couples at his home. >> he and i over the years have batted things off each other. he's had some downs. i've had some downs. and we would go to each other. >> for her part, michelle was happy to see scotty at his house. he was so complimentary about her church work with the teenagers and her every investigatent good spirits. >> he was fun to be around. a great sense of humor. >> by 2004, there were signs that michelle was getting restless about rome, georgia,
and maybe even all the churchiness in their marriage. like a lot of families in the area, michelle and thad liked to visit the camp grounds in gatlinburg, tennessee, the the smoky mountains. michelle felt so seriously, she seriously wanted to buy a cabin resort property from her family, uproot from rome and cater to the tourists in tennessee. >> it was unreal. a million dollars or something. they had already qualified for it and some guy stepped in supposedly before they did and bought it. and that was thad's excuse, as to why she was so down in the dumps and everything. >> that spring, michelle started popping in on her in-laws next door less frequently. when thad got home from work, she would say she had had a long day about w the kids and she was going off to shop. thad, meanwhile, was become even more involved in the church. after a missionary trip to cuba he came back home a fire with the idea of becoming a minister full time.
leaving his job, to see where jesus would lead him. michelle was said to be frosty to the idea. when did it begin? we'll never know but michelle feeling she was playing second fiddle to god in her marriage, began telling someone she was having naughty thoughts about him, someone very taboo. and he was only too happy to say, funny, me, too. >> two of the faithful play with fire. >> he is saying you are a beautiful girl. you're awesome. >> very welcome words for your ears at this point. >> yes, sir.
michelle reynolds had become welcome a theatrical producer at hollywood baptist church. her christian rocking gospel presentation with the church's young people were slick and polished. but in their marriage by may 2004, michelle and thad had again hit a rocky patch. he was thinking about pursuing the ministry full time. that would mean major change in their lives with four little girl. certainly less money. but money didn't mean all that much to him.
his mother tells a story about thad driving along one day listening to christian talk radio. >> god spoke to him and he said son, give. and he said what do you want me to give? and he said ever what you have. and thad opened up his wallet and he had $35 in there. and he drove to the radio station and he gave the $35 to the receptionist and he said, he wanted to it bring marriages back together. >> did thad who had been through an excruciateing divorce from michelle even realize that his wife was feeling ignored? >> my husband was married to his job and church, and i did everything from a to z in our household and homeschooled and had toddlers, taking care of babies. and i would tell him i needed a date. i always told him, i need a date. i need a date. >> they did have an active social life but it was mostly
with other young couple from the church. mainly scotty, thad's friend the youth pastor and his wife page. they went on weekend camping trips together. grilled burgers, played volleyball. but something had made its way back to michelle when scotty had been counseling. thad told michelle to be careful around scotty. when scotty had confided in him during those sessions it dawned on thad that michelle would make scotty the perfect wife. >> my husband, he told me to stay away from scotty because i'm everything that he wants in a wife. >> but even if she wanted to, which she did not, there was a problem avoiding scotty. he was her boss in a way. all those youth extravaganzas were planned with him. >> if i needed costumes or something, one of the dramas, he would tell me how to go about getting it. >> so you're seeing him and talking on the phone, i imagine. e-mailing. >> yes, sir.
>> you've got issues to talk about with the church. >> yes, sir. >> on scotty's end, he said his wife page was sensing her husband and michelle were getting way too cozy. after a rafting trip they had taken together that may, when there seemed to be electricity dancing between the two of them scotty says page told him to back off michelle. >> i would only be around her with page aroundism won't let her talk to her. >> but they did talk. the favorite topic know their spouse's suspicions that something suspicious was going on between them. by the end of may 2004, scotty who seem to put the one-time homecoming queen on the that he had talhe ignored spouse. >> i started getting tang from scotty and i thought, well, okay. saying that you're awesome. >> here come scotty and he is saying boy, you are a beautiful girl.
>> very welcome words for your ears at that point. she began by sending scotty elicit e-mail. >> i would never have suspected that we would go there. >> scotty was tingly and hit return with equally naughty thoughts. >> you don't get tempted by something that you don't want. >> the weekend following the exchange of sexy e-mails, the two church leaders and their families shared a camper vehicle together. in the afternoon, scotty and page went off to the lake with the children. >> thad and i were left in our camper sleeper. and i tried to make love with my husband. and he said no. he brushed me off. and that was very frustrating. >> that night in the camper work thad sleeping next to michelle, page by scotty, scotty says there was erotic midnight tension crackling between the two not yet lovers, only a few feet apart. >> was she flirting with you? >> yeah. we were. >> her husband there and your wife there and the kids around? >> yeah. >> she was coming on to you.
>> weapon just enjoying the weekend, yeah. >> on that camping trip, scotty says thad teased bhim losing thad's hunting knife. scotty promised to replace it. the following tuesday, michelle met scotty in the parking deck of the medical center where he worked. she waited for him in her suv, and they clamberred into the back seat like teenagers. they have the two had crossed the line. for scotty there was no looking back. >> i wanted what i wanted. >> which was? >> michelle. >> so this was the big thing. you thought you met your soul mate. >> yeah. >> it was june 2004 and scotty, the youth pastor and michelle, the youth director were suddenly hot and heavy. morning when's they used to go to the gym were now passed in elicit hours in motels just down the road from hollywood baptist. they started whispering about horton, the city of their fantasized strategy. they called and e-mailed all day long. there was even a stolen dinner together and a movie in a neighboring town.
>> i'm guessing neither one of you wants to be found out at this point. >> you want each other but you want to keep what you have. is that the dilemma? >> we want each other and we don't want to destroy what we have. >> how do you get out of that box? >> the easiest thing was to keep going day to day. that wasn't reasonable. >> that wasn't working, huh? >> no. >> michelle also felt trapped between the two men. >> did you start to feel bad, michelle, about what was going on? >> yes, sir. >> that you were cheating on thad. >> yes. i actually did. at time, i can't believe that it came to this. i really wanted to grow old with my husband. we always talked about walking on the beach, all primmed out. >> mid june and another families together weekend. a big one. a road trip to alabama where michelle's kids from the church dance troop would attend a christian gathering at a place called the ramp. thad had stayed behind at home. the group overnighted at a
nearby motel. while most of the parents, including scotty's wife page, stayed in rooms piled high with sleeping bags chaperoning the teens. scotty, the family pastor, arranged for michelle to have her own room. >> i get the picture of you kind of easing your way out of room after lights out, tiptoeing down the hall. is that the wait happened? >> correct. yes. >> into michelle's room. >> yes. >> spent the night with her? >> yes will. >> make love and then sneak back into your own bed? >> pretty much. >> that night in michelle's single, the two in pillow talk used an expression for the first time that would become their lover's code. the word "ugly." a word that would come to hint at where they were headed. at the end of the weekend they headed back home to rome, georgia them would all be getting together again soon for the big fourth of july weekend racing up on them. >> everything but michelle. >> you loved her. >> yes. >> coming up, michelle tries one
more time to put her marriage back together. a date night that goes horribly wrong. >> so pick a word for how you feel. >> i was disgusted. >> when the secret life of the homecoming queen continues. best unlimited pla here's the truth. at&t and verizon give you unlimited text and talk but charge you extra for going over 2 gigabytes of data. t-mobile claims they're unlimited, but use your phone a lot and they slow down your data speed. with sprint, you don't get charged extra, you don't slow down. and you get unlimited data text and calling to any mobile for only $79.99. the best unlimited plan wins. trouble hearing on the phone? visit sprintrelay.com
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family pastor were having a torrid affair. in only a month's time, they had crossed the line from friends to lovers. scotty didn't think his wyche knew. >> i think they knew that michelle and i were closer than she wanted us to be. she didn't know you were physical. no. michelle was sure her husband thad was in the dark. not surprising as she says he was oblivious to everything but his job and church. >> be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our lord. and what he's done in your life. >> all of which she says pushed her into the affair with her best friend. >> was this love or lust? >> i would say a need. a need that needed to be met, that i wasn't getting at home. there was a major lover's problem here. scotty was reasonably sure that page would give him a divorce. michelle was just as certain that for her, divorce wasn't in the cards biffle then, thad had started chatting with friends and family about becoming a full time minister. being a two-time loser at
marriage wasn't going to do him any good. scotty says michelle started joking with him that if you want me as your bride, then you're just going to have to outlive thad. in the midst of their hot sheets mornings at local motels, the two began to e-mail each other about other ways to get around problems with their gnats. that's with a they called their partners. she joked that she could slather extra butner his food to bring on a heart attack. or maybe they could have a spaghetti dinner with two pots bubbling. in one, dinner for thad and page them would poison the sauce. >> maybe it did put some things in my head. maybe i was already thinking thing. i can't really say. >> wheels started turning. scotty began i go to around with internet searches. and the lovers increasingly talked to each other about poison. >> i had seen something about portland and said i would like to visit there.
and we had gotten married, that we could move out there. >> portland became their code word they would drop into a conversation when the gnats were all together at a gathering. portland is nice this time of year they would say with a smile. >> was that a fantasy? or did you believe it would happen? >> i believe it was a fantasy. >> they both realized they were now in deep. the spouses had to be told. it was agreed that scotty would be the one to tell thad. >> are you insisting that he be the one to tell him? >> yes, sir. i was afraid that my husband might hit me and i was just afraid that he would blow up. >> it is late june now and michelle starts telling her lover scotty, places where her husband thad is going to be say. in the following day. suggesting to scotty that those are locations where he can deliver the very unpleasant news that he and michelle are on and that his best friend thad is odd man out in a lover's triangle. at least that's what michelle claims those messages were all about.
>> another code word by then was ugly. meaning how things might get when scotty finally confronted thad. it first crept into their pillow talk during their alabama weekend. >> i took ugly to mean something, and when ugly men something, talk took a different meaning as well. >> scotty followed michelle's instructions on her husband's whereabouts and haunted spots where thad was expected to show up. he couldn't work up the nerve to confront him since michelle was growing frustrated. >> have you been on scotty? have you talked to him yet? have you done the thing you promised you would do? >> i asked him when he was going to talk to him. on july 1, a thursday, scotty had walked into this kmart and bought a knife like the one he said thad had blamed him for losing. was it a replacement or what? the next morning, friday, he sat waiting for thad to come out of this restaurant. >> what did you do? >> nothing. >> chicken out? >> yeah.
>> that afternoon was the low point in the scotty and michelle affair. michelle wanted him to meet her by the town's levee at lunch time. this time she wanted to talk. not makeout. scotty could feel her pulling back, dousing cold water on their flames. >> i don't remember that word but i remember she was saying, it is not going to happen. >> you're not man enough to do this thing you said you were going to do. >> forget about me because i'm going to be gone? >> i don't know that i thought she was doing that. >> michelle was aloof by the river that day. she said she was starting to have serious second thoughts about the relationship. >> i was trying to cut it off at that point. and he said no. >> about it kept going. >> yes, sir. >> but to make an even bad rendezvous worse, michelle told scotty that she and thad were going out that night. the date she had been going on and on about with thad, that she really needed to have. so they went out.
but before dinner, michelle says thad's date night began with an unexpected stop at a prayer group. >> i was really frustrate with that type of situation. and he said yeah, pray for me. i'm not a good husband to michelle. >> at the church meeting. >> yes, sir. >> in public out loud. stand up and talk. >> yes, sir. he said i'm not being the husband that i should be to michelle was what he said. >> so paik word for how you feel listening to this. >> i was disgusted. i was thinking, don't to go these people. come to me. let's talk about it. and i was disgusted. i felt like he was, woe is me. he's the victim. >> that probably wasn't a great date. >> no, sir. >> the saturday of fourth of july week, the two families and a few other couples were getting together for the usual festivities. scott, page, thad, sxhishl the seven girls. michelle said she was starting to get edgy about her affair with scotty.
>> was it starting to eat at you? >> just feeling convicted. yes, sir. >> that night whatever concerns there may have been were pushed aside to watch the fireworks. their little girls oohed and aahed at the fire work spectacular. the next day, a cookout and volleyball. michelle says scotty's wife commented on her wearing attire too skimpy for an afternoon family picnic. >> we got together at the park and played some volleyball and page even commented on my clothes there. >> in a snide way? >> i can't believe you're wearing that tank top. that was uncomfortable. >> scotty had his own reasons for feeling uncomfortable at the afternoon cookout. >> how strange is it, the guy you're cooke steaks with is the husband of your lover? >> strange like any affair, i guess. >> matter that afternoon, scotty received an e-mail from michelle with afternoon about where thad was going to be the next morning. monday. after the chilly talk, scotty
knew full well that he might lose michelle unless he confronted thad soon. even if it turns out to be that lover's shorthand they had. ugly. >> and ugly it would be. after a bloody predawn discovery. >> he told me about it. and i just fell on the floor crying. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] say hello to the new mango pineapple real fruit smoothies from mccafé, bursting with fresh flavors and blended with creamy low-fat yogurt. the simple joy of exotic refreshment. ♪ ♪
the fourth of july weekend was over. thad's mom had babysat her grand daughters when thad and michelle had gone out on their date night that friday. >> i went and pick up the girl. he said thanks, mom, we needed that. and that was really the last conversation i can remember having. >> thad's shift at the frito lay warehouse often began at dawn. that's where a co-worker found him. 36-year-old thad recommendeds had been stabbed to death in a frenzy. 19 wounds. the sheriff could barely believe what he was hearing. a well-liked local man brutally stabbed at his office. >> we tip maybe two murders a year.
this kind of gruesome murder was of course, very eye-opening for our community and very big news. >> it was a scene right out of the movie psycho. not one you would normally ever see in the quiet city of rome, georgia. >> no one could make sense of that. it seemed out of character for what is a nice, quiet place to live. >> assistant district attorney natalie and her boss lee patterson got news of the murder that morning. >> when the first officer arrived, they call in for detectives to come in. they didn't know at that point who to even focus on. >> the warehouse wasn't a place to have cash lying around. the drivers pick up their snack orders there. >> they wondered if it was a stranger murder. where somebody just walk by and saw the lights on. saw the cars outside and then came in. >> while did he goives gathered evidence at the scene to try to make sense of the crime, the pastor from hollywood baptist went to break the news to michelle that thad was dead.
>> they came in and knocked on the door. and told me about it and i just fell on the floor crying. >> thad's mom kitty found out while at work. >> i got the call from a pastor at hollywood. he said you need to come home. you need to come home now. michelle needs you. i guess it was just automatically i knew it was thad. >> kitty raced to michelle's where she was officially told her son thad was dead. >> a mother's nightmare. from there, it is like all a blur. >> thad's sister beverly had arrived, too. her mom told her. >> i just kind of lost it right there in the front yard. i remember her going to her knees. he? they helped me get back up and i walked in. i went to michelle. she was sitting on the couch. i hugged her. >> when she heard the news, aunt trish came to the house to comfort her niece. >> she sealed like she was in shock. >> obvious grief, crying,
sobbing? >> no. she was like, almost like she was in a trance. she said i'm in shock. i keep waiting for him to walk in the door. for thad to walk in the front door. >> an emergency prayer request went out to the hollywood baptist community. member of the congregation started arriving to comfort michelle, the new widow. ? were you taking medications? >> yes, sir. i was on anti-depressants and a sleeping pill and actually, one of the girl that i go to church with, a nurse, she brought me some xanax. >> some of the people helping you through your grief was page. >> only like five minutes that i remember her hugging me. that was pretty much it. >> page was joined at michelle's boy her husband scotty. the pastor had called him and will them news that his office at the hospital. >> they told me thad was dead.
>> scotty showed up at michelle's house with a bandaged right hand. a weight lifting accident at the gym, he said. >> he sat there and played with the kids and my daughter. they were all sitting there cutting up and playing game. >> meanwhile at the crime scene the police were recovering what would turn out to be key evidence. great stuff. a homicide detective's dream. whoever the killer was, he had been a bungler. he dropped his prescription glasses on the ground. nearby, they found a sheetss forath for the knife. and a minivan. >> as a murder, how clumsy is this crime? >> incredibly. >> the killing of a family man and a deacon in rome was big a story. there was a man who had heard of the murder. he worked on the phone system at the floyd medical center. later that night he was sitting down with homicide detectives
and they were very interested in what he had to say. they wols be interested in certain e-mails. >> things like i want to taste you. that is the tame part of it. >> not hallmark cards. >> no. >> when the secret life of the homecoming queen continues. est, clearest water. we find the best, sweetest crab for red lobster we can find. yeah! [ male announcer ] hurry in to crabfest at red lobster. the only time you can savor three sweet alaskan crab entrees all under $20 like our hearty crab and roasted garlic seafood bake or snow crab and crab butter shrimp. [ jon ] i wouldn't put it on my table at home i wouldn't bring it in. my name's jon forsythe, and i sea food differently. hello parents, it's going to be a big school year. your kids are going to climb rope. they're going to have a year long tug war with the ceiling. and by the time they get out of 8th grade, they're going to do it with sweat on their brow and achievement in their hearts. so, this is what they're gonna need:
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>> floyd medical center in rome georgia, is the largest employer3 in the county. keeping its vast phone system up to speed is a big job. there was a tech person who was helping the hospital change over to a new phone system. you might say he was a perfectly legal eavesdropper. and one day, as he was work to switch over the phone line, he hear a fellow employee, someone he knew by name, having an intimate conversation with a woman who was not his wife. the technician was discreet. he didn't tell anyone that he had caught scotty harper in an affair, cooing with a woman named michelle something. he didn't tell until the day of thad reynolds' murder when he happened to drive by the crime scene that morning, abuzz with police activity. and later heard this crime stopper tip. be on the lookout for a burgundy van. >> he is listened on these phone call and he know that scott harper is having an affair with somebody that is not obviously
his wife. and he knows that scott harper drives a burgundy van. he immediately calls the police. so at that point the police begin to focus their investigation on scott harper. >> with that tip, the detectives went to the hospital to get scotty harper's compute we are all his e-mail. what the cops find reads like steamy porn. a month's worth of erotic messages between scotty and michelle. more than enough to persuade them that michelle had lit the spark that started the affair. >> she put the full-court press on him to try to seduce him. she used everything in her power to do that. she is very good at it, obviously. >> they even referred to one of the messages as the wheel of fortune e-mail. it was michelle to scotty after she had confided to him that she was having bad thoughts about him. >> she sent him an e-mail that details what she wanted to do to
him sexually. and it would be a series of phrases like i want to -- and then there would be several words or several blanks that you would have to fill in the letters to form a word. >> like on the tv game show. >> like on the game show. when you bought a vowel, what were the kinds of thing she was talking about? >> pretty graphic. thing like i want to taste. that's the same part of it i want to make love with you. but they were extremely more graphic. >> not hallmark cards and kittens. >> no. he filled in the blank. that was when their relationship changed. >> michelle and scotty tried to keep their cool with spouses as though nothing had change. the custom of the two families getting together most weekend continued. and was a kind of cover for their infatuation. >> people who have affairs, often when they think they're being secretive and hiding things, they think they're in this little bubble, will think if you're with a big group of people and the two of you are together and you can talk with a big group of people there, no
one will think there is anything about it. >> and they were finding their secrets, lovers code words, all with her husband and his wife a few feet away. >> was she the initiator here? >> absolutely. he would never have crossed the line. he would never have initiated this. >> and he was willing to go along. >> he absolutely was. >> but the homicidal map was starting to add up. thad, the deacon, stabbed to death. the family pastor in a sexual relationship with the murdered man's wife. a dropped pair of prescription glasses spat werd blood. a burgundy van. on tuesday night, the night after the murder, the detectives told scotty they wanted him and his wife to come to the police station for an interview. the next morning he arrived there with his wife page. >> they asked him. where are your glasses? have you had an affair with michelle reynolds? >> he knows they're pinning him in at that point. >> he can't explain. and he is lying to them flat out when he says he's not having an
affair. they already had the e-mails and they have the knowledge. >> does he give it up? >>. no. they asked him to search the van and he agrees. >> the police go to the hospital to get scotty's van for processing. page is with him now. well aware from the police questioning where this is heading. >> he wants to go back into work to the hospital and page says no. we're going to your mom and dad's right now. >> investigators bereave scotty was desperately trying to get back to his office to delete anything on his computer that would link michelle to the building case. >> he is trying to get rid of though e-mails. that will hook michelle that he loves into this. >> surprising, of course, that a pirate professional like himself would have kept the e-mails on his laptop in the first place. >> what was he thinking? why does he let this reside on the computers? >> of course he would save them. so he could go back and reread. and be excited all over again about this affair and its progression and all these things
that they wrote to each other. he writes these long flowery e-mails to her about how much he loves her. and how much he cares for her and how much he wants to be with her. and when she writes back to him, that's catnip to him. he won't destroy that. >> even an armchair detective would have started following the trail right to scotty harper's door. the kill her used a knife like this to stab thad reynolds 19 times that monday morning. the detectives knew that on the morning of the murder, scotty harper had gone to the e.r. of the hospital where he worked to have a cut hand stitched up. those explicit e-mails he failed to get rid of told them he was a month into an affair with the murdered man's wife. had scotty harper murdered his best friend? the husband of his lover. >> i mouthed the words, you just killed dad. >> scotty was confessing to the mirror but not to anyone else. >> nothing i could say to take it back.
nothing i could do. >> what about the widow's reaction to her husband's murder? >> she wasn't shedding a tear. >> when "dateline" continues. lidden brilliance 2n1 paint and primer, paint supplies and... moving boxes. ♪ ♪ hey, i just finished paintinn.ll here? i think shoulkeep it. it speaks to me. [ voice ] don't paint me. yeah...no. he's gotta go. [ male announcer ] for quick, easy coverage get glidden brilliance 2n1 paint and primer. performs like paint twice its price. plus other low prices every day on everything. save money. live better. walmart. [ man ] sweet, nutty crunchy nut... can't wait 'til morning. wait, it's morning in the himalayas... [ male announcer ] it's sweet. it's nutty. it's absolutely delicious. kellogg's crunchy nut. it's morning somewhere. [ laughter ] what is so funny? lisa's old boyfriend. little reggie? that was years ago. hey, i've got mcdonald's new premium chicken sandwiches.
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killing of thad reynolds. >> with a gun you can stand far away from someone and shoot them. you don't to have touch them and you don't have to smell the blood. and you don't have to put your hands on them. a knife is pretty cold. >> and as unimaginable as it was, all signs were pointing to thad's close friend, scotty harper, as the killer. the night before scotty harper had gone down to the police station for questioning by detectives, he call michelle and confessed to her that he was indeed the killer. >> i told her i did it. >> in her words as you recall? >> she got quiet. i remember her saying, too have the nightmare never ends. she said i've got to go. i've got to go. >> after hanging up the phone, scotty says they talked again. and michelle pleaded with him that if he was going to confess to the crime, that he not do it until after thad's funeral. still two days away. >> we talk later. she said i don't want my girl to ever know you did this. this is crazy.
i said, well they're going to. and she said, can you at least give them the funeral? >> don't talk to the police until after the funeral? >> i was wanting to talk to her oldest daughter. and thad's mom and her. i was wanting to be able to sit down with all three of them. that's when she said she didn't want her daughters to ever know who did this. >> while he had confessed to his lover, scotty still hadn't broken the news to his wife. >> had you told page? >> no. >> but the morning of the detectives' questioning, scotty says his wife had started to figure out that he had killed thad reynolds. >> we go to my mom and dad's how. they call page over there, they called the pastor over there. >> you said i did it. i was the one who murdered thad. >> in the next 24 hours, scotty met with a lawyer and then checked himself overnight into a psychiatric hospital. >> the lawyer suggested it? >> he said i think you need to go there.
because, i probably did. i'm not suggesting i was insane when it happened. i remember it happening. >> scotty out of sight overnight in a psych ward was also buying michelle the time she wanted to prepare for thad's funeral without the pall of scotty' involvement happening over it. but no one in their circle suspected yet that scotty could be the killer. friends privately buzzing about the new widow's demeanor. why did michelle seem so calm? why did she tell the ladies who asked if they could help her shop for a funeral dress, that wouldn't be necessary? she had a new black dress in her encloses wet the price tag still on it. what was going to with the newly widowed michelle? thad's mother and sister don't remember michelle shedding any tears at all. >> it was like no emotion. no -- i thought maybe she was in shock. >> i remember michelle coming outside and hugging me.
but i saw no he's the. >> michelle had also request that had police not give her any details about her husband's murder. investigators saw it all as odd behavior. >> everybody thought that she acted very strange. there weren't really any tears. she wasn't crying. people at the church again were just devastated. and she wasn't shedding a tear. in fact, she was making jokes to some of the people that came in and would say inappropriate things. >> friends at the house told investigators, though michelle would later say she was just joking, that she initially talked about getting a nose ring. soon after thad was killed. >> michelle looked over and that, do you want so and so's nose ring? in no. i don't really like nose rings. she said now that thad is dead, i think i'll get one. everybody in the room went -- >> he won't be able to say anything about it. >> thad didn't like they willm.
>> she's cold. >> thad's wishes was saying they would cremate his remains. >> i was shocked but i knew there was nothing we could do. she was calling the shots. >> and it all started crashing down on thursday morning when thad's mother went over to the house and was told that she couldn't go in. >> one of the ladies from church kind of backed me up against the car and said you can't go in. they're searching the house. they're seizing the computer. that's when she told me that scotty and michelle had had an affair. >> when the detectives read through all the e-mails that scotty, the computer expert, had fail to delete when they saw a message about when and where scotty would be able to find thad the morning he was kill, and when they considered how coolly the new widow took news of her husband's debt, arrest warrants were drawn up not just for scotty harper but surprisingly for michelle as well shelf would be called the
co-killer. >> she is one of the most evil people i've ever dealt with. >> the two were issued jail house jumpsuits and charged with murder. >> you announced your intention to go for the death penalty on both of them. >> yes. >> even though she was clearly not at the scene. >> even though she was clearly not at the scene. she is a party to the crime shelf aided, abetted and encouraged it. >> could the state prove that michelle knew all along what scotty would do? the prosecutor is kflt they could. >> she is the brains and he is the muscle. >> coming up, astonishing phone call between jailed lovers wolf they give prosecutors the proof they need? >> i don't believe that i've ever been loved as much as somebody as i have by you. >> when the secret life of the homecoming queen continues. ♪ [ cat meows ]
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do you not know that a prince and a great man -- forgive me. has fallen this day in israel. >> thad reynolds was eulogized as a man of god. sent to his rest by as many friends at hollywood baptist church where he had been a beloved deacon. so poignant, those four little girls, stair stepped in size. their father suddenly dead. and their mother charged with killing him. >> if you can hear them pray, olivia prayed just exactly like her daddy. and the baby, she always says when she prays, she says the usual stuff. keep our family safe, bless
mama, bless papa, bless mama, daddy. >> mama michelle reynolds was not at the funeral but in the county jail charged with planning the murder. both were denied bond as flight risks. if convicted, both could face the death penalty. but the two were still apparently so desperately in love that they convince ad recently released fellow inmate to set up three-way calling for them. >> an inmate at the floyd county jail. if you wish to accept this call -- >> the inmate turned out to be a jail house snitch. >> hey. he's on the other line, okay? >> and while michelle and scotty talk know their conversations were being recorded. >> listen for yourself. scotty and michelle from behind bars, still hinting at ending up in portland. their fantasy city where they would start a new life together. >> i wonder how portland is. >> even though they faced the possibility of death row, scotty and michelle's conversations remained light.
flirtacious, even racy. >> what are you wearing? >> and they kept speaking of their devotion to each other as investigators listened in. >> it always amazed me. they were talking about how much they missed each other. >> i don't believe that i've ever been loved as much as somebody as i have by you. and i mean that. >> i'm with you. >> they're stopping in the middle of the conversation and saying things like, oh, wait a minute. i love you. did you know that i love you? and they'll say it over and over and over. >> and it is what they weren't hearing from michelle. a lack of outrage that reinforced the prosecutor's conviction that michelle knew all along that murder was afoot and was actively planning it with scotty. >> if you were arrested for the murder of your spouse, and you got to have communication with the person who actually committed the murder, don't you
think you would say something like, what have you done? >> what did you get me into? ? why did you do this? >> there were several of these conversations and in none of them are there denials of any of it. >> there were prison letters exchanged, too. in one from michelle to scotty two week after the murder, she uses some versus from the bible to pass on an only slightly encoded message to him. the letter page is head, fraemd for me and my children. she quotes a verse from genesis and you see that she is underlined the word "all." the next bit of scriptures is from psalms. who have i in heaven but you. in all, michelle writes out 17 versus with certain words underlined. and when you read all those underlines together, it forms the thought, ail knew was that you were going to speak to him about us. help me. if a man would give for love. >> that's her message to him. she knows that he loves her and she wants him to save her and take her away from this.
take her out of it. >> so that's her campaign at this point. she is setting up her defense which is, noticed idea. you were so much in love with me. i had no idea you would go to that length. >> yes. >> in the days following arrest interesting detectives continued to build their case. they took note of an insurance policy on thad that would have paid michelle more than $250,000. was money part of the motive? but what the detectives initially didn't have was the murder weapon. the nightknife scott harper had used. that change when one of the co-workers had an inkling of where a good hiding place would be. >> he and another guy who worked at the i.t. department started looking. they went into the server room and took the suction cup device. i think he said he got to the third time and there was the jcpenney's bag. >> inside this bag was scotty's bloody clothing, his shoes, the knife and even this receipt for
the knife from kmart. it was virtually a murder conviction in a bag. >> i've never had a case where somebody gave me not only the receipt from buying the murder weapon that packaged it all up, along with what they were wearing at the time they did it. ? later they recovered the security cram tape from kmart. scotty, seen here, go into the store to buy the four-inch hunting knife. >> was he among world's stupidest guys? >> yeah. >> you got everything but a movie of him doing it. ? hers was definitely the harder case. >> not in any of the recovered e-mail had michelle written words to the effect, we need to kill thad. instead the prosecutors focused on that fourth of july weekend that began with that frosty rendezvous with the levee on friday. by that day, scotty had already failed on two occasions to confront thad after he says michelle had given him instructions as to where he would be. to scotty, she seemed upset that afternoon that he hadn't been manly enough to tell thad. he thought he had lost her.
sunday, she e-mails scotty, letting him know where thad will be early the next morning. and the best nugget the prosecution had was this. an e-mail exchange late sunday evening. he writes, stop me if you have any hesitations. she applies, i'm ready. please be observance of your surroundings and be carroll. i can't wait to be your bride. was it enough? would a jury buy that as her knowing, deliberately giving her head over heels lover a green light for murder? michelle had hired season criminal defense lawyers, jimmy barry and vick reynolds. they were very worried about trying a case in a town they believe was ready to convict their client with biblical fury. >> in this case, there was absolute lay moral back lash against michelle. i think there was a perception by the community that she had initiated this affair hfl taken this man of god with her womanly ways. sexual ways. had gotten him to do this heinous act. and i think the community was convinced that's what michelle
had done. >> but despite the defense attorney's fear a local jury would be willing to brand their client with a scarlet letter, they didn't believe those e-mails between lovers gave the pros koougs prosecutors the smoke gun they needed to send michelle to death row. >> there are a lot of ways to interpret what some of these e-mails may have indicated. >> the defense attorney's version of events would be that scotty acted entirely on his own. just crazy in love with their client. talk to thad, he suggests, means and only that. no coded language. >> she basically indicates to me that she never indicated to scotty that she wanted him to kill her husband. >> so which was it? two lovers who carried out a murder in order to get to their fantasy land of portland together? or was she totally in the dark? was it really about one crazed man killing the husband who stood in the way? and would the prosecutors be forced to cut michelle loose from their case all together?
was it time for prosecutors to play their least favorite game, let's make a deal. and how about let's piece together the evidence. some wonder why michelle seemed to have a brand new funeral outfit ready to go. >> every woman needs a black dress. >> when "dateline" continues. they came to us. two maryland lawmakers tell us what's next... we have live team coverage. and should president richard nixon's grand jury testimony on watergate be made public. tonight why a judge says yes as president obama says no. we'll have that plus what baltimore police are saying about a body found stuffed inside the trunk of a car. after days of delay....the house
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>> michelle would write in an e-mail later that she could relate to the words of that old song, torn between two lovers. >> i love my husband and i didn't want him to be hurt. >> the prosecutors had come to look at michelle reynolds in the worst possible light. a seducer. >> she had been referred to as a puppet master. she was absolutely pulling his string and pushing him and hinting and saying we're never going to be together unless. >> unless they argued, scotty killed her husband. >> did you ever have a conversation with michelle where you said, we have to think about the worst possible thing. the only way we'll be together is to get rid of thad. >> no, sir. >> michelle denied that she had sent her lover to kill her husband. as she talked exclusively about
her extra-marital affair with "dateline." >> at one point, we were both talking about it. we need to stop and then -- he said i can't. i can't stop. >> guilty of adultery, she says, but not murder. and as you hear her tell her story, you'll realize that for michelle, it was never endless love. she talks of scotty indifferently as though he is an inconsequential old boyfriend she has to squint to remember. >> we met in the parking deck at his job. we just kissed. >> anything else happen that day? >> no, sir. >> when did you go past kissing into actual having sex? >> we actually didn't have sex. >> you never had sex. >> no, sir. >> he couldn't get an erection. >> scotty, michelle was saying, that he was impotent. a starting revelation given all the horror of the affair. she said the trysts at the
motels all heavy petting and making out without consummation. and ditto for him sneaking into her room during that weend in alabama. >> again, he couldn't get an erection. >> kissing and hugging. >> yes, sir. >> and then at dawn he would leave. >> yes, sir. >> when scotty was in the county jail, months after the murder, authorities confiscated in his krael 58-page letter he had written michelle but she had never received. over and over, he writes lines like these. i want to love you. spend the rest of my life devoted to you and making you the happiest woman alive. but the letter is more than just another avowel of his enless love for her. it is a bullet proof outline for how they need to keep their stories together for their upcoming trials. in this phone book of a letter, scotty also outlines for her how he plans to defend himself. he is going to argue that he took a pill for erect aisle dysfunction, something which triggered a psychotic episode
during which he killed thad. not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. this idea of impotency is floating around the case but the prosecutor isn't buying the argument. she said she has on the record, michelle, boasting about her sexual dexterity. >> she bragged about that she had shown him positions that he had never seen before. >> he loves it. >> those were her words and he loved it. >> whatever the truth, michelle and scotty were only a few weeks into their romantic relationship when they met at the levee the day she didn't want to come. she wanted to talk about the dead end they were facing unless scotty had a man to man confrontation with thad as he promised. >> were you on him saying, have you talked to him yet? >> we had discussed it. there is that time he said, oh, my gosh. i'm losing you because thad had said we were going on a date. that even increased his wanting to move forward even more so. >> that was the friday of fourth
of july weekend when a dejected scotty felt he was losing michelle. that weekend, there was barbecue, volleyball, fire work. and on sunday, michelle remembers scotty telling her he was finally going to talk to her husband. >> he said, show me your husband's schedule so i'll know where he's at and i'll hook up with him. and that's what i did. >> what did that mean to you, michelle? >> that he was going to go confront him about us. >> did you get the feeling he was talking about a violent resolution to this thing? >> no, sir. i really didn't -- scotty was a nice, outgoing guy. i would never imagine him hurt go anyone. >> what about those troubling e-mails the lovers exchanged on sunday, the day before the murder? >> scotty sends you an e-mail that says, i'm ready for tomorrow. stop me if you have any hesitation. do you remember that? >> yes, sir. >> what did you think that meant? >> if i wanted him to go and tell thad about us or not.
>> and you apply, no hesitation. i'm ready. please be observant of your surrounding and be careful. i do want to spend time with you. i want to be your wife. >> yes, sir. >> is there anyway to proceed other than to say, be care envelop what we both know is going to happen and look over your shoulder and do pull this off? >> i know that there are people there. they come in and out. being careful is like don't get in a fight. >> remember, during that church trip in alabama, michelle and scotty started using the words talk and living as a lover's code for scotty's upcoming conversation with thad. >> you had used a shorthand, the word ugly between you. >> yes, sir. >> what did the word ugly mean to you? >> them getting in a fight. >> when you say be careful, you're thinking about don't do something dumb. dote get in a fight. >> right. ? michelle said sheer in will or even hinted to scotty that he needed to kill thad. there were no special looks no, nods, nothing. >> had you told scotty explicitly or given him some sort of body language that we've
got to kill thad? >> no, sir. >> this is how we'll be together? >> no, sir. >> when scotty charld that morning, she said she still didn't suspect that he had killed thad. >> he said he met with him and told him that he didn't bring up the fact that what happened. what did you think had happened? you're a bright woman. it was the morning of the confrontation. he said he did have the confrontation and then thad is found stabbed to death. >> i didn't want to believe it was him. >> did you suspect it? >> no. because that is just not his character. it is not part of him. he is an all-time sweet guy. and no. >> so at the very moment he is supposed to have this confrontation which will be unpleasant in the best all worlds, it happens and then out of the, blue somebody else come in to the place of business and stabs your husband 19 times at dawn in a botched robbery? that doesn't add up. >> no, sir. >> michelle also says there was no dark humor between her and
scotty about killing thad. >> you don't remember joking with him about i'll make a poison batch of spaghetti and that will take care of it? >> no, sir. >> annihilate them? >> no, sir. >> as for the per spepgs she seemed unreasonably cool at the house in the days after the murder, michelle says she was simply in shock. >> in all honesty, i blacked out for the most part because those people that said they came to my house. they saw me. i don't ever recall. >> the fact that she had what seemed to some a prebought funeral dress hanging in the closet. she said this has been taken entirely out of context. >> every woman needs a black dress. i know what that black dress, they didn't mention that i had like two other dresses, a top and skirt. still with the tags on them. >> to michelle lawyers, none of it may have looked good but it was still all very thin evidence for the prosecutors to build a capital murder case against
their client. >> they were all just bad innuendos. >> and even the prosecutor knew if they were going to get a conviction on michelle, they would need scotty to testify against her. and four years after the murder as the two lovers sat in separate cells in the county jail, prosecutors finally got just that. >> do you fully understand what's going to here today? >> a sworn taped confession from scotty harper. >> are you freely, cooperatively giving thus statement? >> scotty cut a deal with the district attorney. he taped this confession and would testify for the prosecution in michelle's upcoming trial, provided the state drop the death penalty on not just him but on michelle. >> if you don't offer a get out of death free card. >> no. not i love her and she had nothing to do with this. >> he has to come off that line.
>> yeah. he has to tell the truth. would they ever get the complete truth from a man who would do anything for the woman he loves? coming, scotty recounts what happened when he called michelle to tell her he finally confronted thad. >> did she say words to the if he can, scott, is he dead? did you kill him? >> when the secret life of the homecoming queen continues. [ male announcer ] it has an hd webcam,audio and lids that switch to start every semester fresh. but mostly it helps me try new moves on and off the court. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] powered by the 2nd gen intel core processor family. not just smart. visibly smart. get an inspiron 15r with 6 gig memory and 640 gig hard drive for $599.99 at dell.com.
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scotty happener had fallen hard for the former homecoming queen at his high school. the enormously tangled dilemma was that michelle reynolds was also his best friend's wife. the mother of four little girls. for him, what it started out as e-mail flirtations turned into irresistible hot sex will. >> was it exciting? was it risky? good? >> exciting, risky. it was something i wanted. >> i think i hear you saying this is like a narcotic. that michelle has become your drug and you cannot get enough of it? >> i guess that's fair to say. she was. everything. yeah. everything i need. >> as part of a plea deal with the state, scotty harper had agreed to testify for the
prosecution in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table for both of them. >> if we're going to continue -- >> in this sworn confession that was taped before michelle's pending trial, scotty described the path they traveled down that ultimately led to murder. it all started in earnest, he says, at the week church trip in alabama when he sneaked away to the private room he had arranged for her.
>> scotty also said he heard relief in michelle's voice when he spoke to her the morning of thad's death. >> when "dateline" talked exclusively to scotty harper, he backed away from that position he had given prosecution as part of his plea deal. that michelle was relieved the morning thad was found dead. and that she even knew what talk and ugly were really all about. he seemed to once again want to protect her from any involvement in the murder. >> so what is the truth? >> there is nothing to cover for. nothing to protect her from. the truth is, i did this. i see no guilt on her part. i really don't. >> scotty is now saying that he acted alone. and says when he went to sleep that sunday night, even he didn't know how the confrontation with thad was
going to play out. he said he got up before 5:00 that monday morning but instead of his usual trip to the gym, he made the decision to drive to the frito lay warehouse. >> it is hard to believe it got to where it was. i'm looking at myself in the rear view mirror. for a minute before i go in. >> was that always going to be the outcome from that moment on? as you're looking at yourself in the rear view? >> it is like i was sitting outside looking in. and i'm not removing myself from the responsibility because that was me. but it is hard to imagine. myself and the thaugs that i was having. >> do you see yourself walking in? >> yeah. >> do you hear them saying scotty harper, what are you doing here? >> yeah. >> what do you say to him? >> i want what you got. >> michelle. >> correct.
>> scotty says he then pulled the knife out of the sheath. thad he said, thought he returned the knife he lost on that camping trip. >> it was in my right hand. he sees itself looks down. he holds out his left hand as though you're going to what? hand the knife to him? >> i guess so. he is saying i want what you got. he had a little confused look. he didn't know what i was talking about. >> but he didn't have much time to reflect. you're on him with a knife right away, huh? >> correct. >> the worst minute of your life and a lot of other people's lives. >> yeah. >> thad tried to fight back. >> do you remember anything about it? >> very much. >> it would say later in the autopsy report that you stabbed him 19 times. >> i don't remember 19 stabs. but i remember enough. >> he went down and stayed down.
did you say i want what you have again? >> i said it more than once, yes. >> did you think now i've got her? >> no. i couldn't believe what i had done. i couldn't believe what i had done. >> scotty left thad, his best friend, bleeding to death on his office floor. he knew he needed to get away quickly. >> i had to wrap my fingers. i had cut myself. >> there go your eyeglasses. you lost them. it is dark and they're gone. and you've lost the sheath to the knife. >> no plan. >> this is no plan. what's going on? >> no idea how it got there. not a thing to do to take it back. >> what are you going to do next? that's what 6:00 a.m. is about. what is 8:00 a.m.? what are the next years of your life coming off this moment. the after effects wasn't planned.
not thinking about running, escaping, doing anything. >> but also not going to the police. >> and also not going to the police. >> he drove to the hospital where he worked and entered through a side door. >> i had blood all over me. i changed clothes. there were other people going to be coming in and i wasn't going to leave bloody clothes and a knife sitting out. i put they will on the floor. it is a raised floor at the data center where we had our servers. you can pull the times up. >> did you think this is going pretty good now? >> no. at no point during that time did i feel like this is going pretty good. no. >> he then headed to the e.r. to get stitches for the knife wound on his hand. later, he drove to his gym to shower up. >> every mirror i would pass i mouthed the words, you just killed thad. killed thad. it seemed surreal. like it didn't happen. but i knew it did. >> your blood is on him. his blood is out.
your good friend. >> yeah. >> scotty then calls michelle. >> she asked me, did you talk with him? i said yes. did you say it got ugly in yes. >> did she say words to the effect, scott, is he dead? did you kill him? is it over? >> no. no. >> you're saying that her understanding was that you've had the talk with him and it was nasty and it was ugly and what? i'll talk to you later? >> yeah. i mean, she said, i'll hear about it later. >> soon after speaking to michelle, scotty got the official word from their pastor that thad was dead. he headed over to michelle's where he was immediately surrounded by thad's family and these pictures were snapped of him holding the dead man's youngest daughter. >> the children who don't have a father. >> i see his sister, his mom. >> the mom of the man you just murdered.
>> yes. >> how were you hole go it together? why didn't you just come undone at that moment and say -- i throw myself at your mercy this thing happened. >> there was nothing i could say that could take it back. there was nothing i could do to fix it. >> so you were just going to muddle forward and see what happens? >> i didn't know what to do. >> scotty says he and michelle had barely any time alone that day. too many friends were arriving to express their condolences. but when he called her late that night, he said it still hadn't occurred to her that he was the killer. >> before we hung up, she said do you think this was a sign? >> a what? >> a sign. >> a sign from whereof what? >> a sign from god. and i asked her what are you talking about? and she said, of all days for you to go talk to him. i saw then she didn't know. >> she didn't know that you were going to go kill him. >> no. she did not. >> when i went to bed that night, i can't say that i knew i
would kill hill. i know she couldn't have. she had no idea. >> scotty harper's story from friendships to homicide, all for a one-time homecoming queen who now says their fling was just a big mistake. >> is he still the 15-year-old boy in high school, fixated on the homecoming queen? >> i believe so, yes, sir. >> and now after everything -- >> what would you say to sc
we'll never stop sharing our memories or getting lost in a good book. we'll always cook dinner and cheer for our favorite team. we'll still go to meetings make home movies and learn new things. but how we do all this, will never be the same. we're all out of toilet paper. can you toss me a roll? too rough. we're out of toilet paper. can you toss me a roll? too soft. can you toss me a roll? that's better. angel soft.
one woman, two men, seven children among them being raise in the good solid middle class homes. >> i don't know how you explain it. if you try to wrap your mind around it, you can't. we always come back to the question, why not just get a divorce? but they didn't. >> and the prosecutor believes it was scotty harper's sexual obsession with michelle that led him to murder. >> she taught him how to walk on the wild side. and he didn't want to ever give that up. >> even apparently if it meant going to prison for the rest of his life for it. there would be no trial. scotty happener pleaded guilty to stabbing to death his good friend thad reynolds. >> a plea of guilty and the charges of murder of mr. thad reynolds. >> he was given life in prison without the possible of parole. ? michelle reynolds also ended up taking a deal from the prosecutor.
>> knowing that scotty was planning to testify for the prosecution, michelle agreed to a sentence of ten years for voluntary manslaughter. and ten years for party to the crime of burglary. a charge related to scotty entering the frito lay warehouse. >> it is always hard to roll the dice when you're talking about a death penalty. >> michelle's lawyers were prepared to go to trial and argue that she had no idea that scotty was going to kill her husband. but when they hadn't managed to get a change of venue out of rome, georgia, and when the prosecution was offering to swap the death penalty for a much lesser charming, they advised michelle to take the deal. >> it is the bible belt. nobody likes folks in the bible belt having affairs. everybody pet much had made up their mind that she was guilty. that she forced this boy and
never been any trouble, a good boy. she forced him into killing her husband so they could be together. >> michelle accepted the 20-year prison term without a trial because a part of her does feel responsible for thad's did he do. >> morally, because i had the affair, i feel responsible. because had i not had the affair, this wouldn't have happened. and i'm deeply sorry that so many people were hurt. that i've hurt a lot of people. >> so you agreed to do 20 years for an affair? >> yes, sir. >> is that what it come down to? >> yes, sir. >> you didn't ask your lover to kill your husband? >> no, sir. >> scotty wishes michelle had fought the charges. >> i don't understand why she pled. >> because if she lost her bet, he she might have ended up on death row. >> she's innocent. >> scotty said he took plea deal because he didn't want his family to go through a death penalty trial and he didn't want
michelle to face that either. was that as important as your deal? that they take death off the table? >> he correct. ? you're still trying to help her. >> i can't say i've done good for anybody. >> as part of her sentence, michelle cannot have any could not tack with her four children until her term is served. >> what would you say to scotty? >> at this time i don't have anything to say to him. >> i was definitely crazy about her. >> but now? >> some thing you have to suppress. the other thing michelle said which really surprised me, when you think of everything you guys gambled, she said that you never really completed the sexual relationship. >> i've heard that from people. i don't know. >> she said that basically, you were impotent with her and never consummated the act.